Is motherhood compatible with political participation? Sophie de Grouchy's care-based republicanism
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
47 - 60
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Motherhood, as it is practiced, constitutes an obstacle to gender equality in political participation. Several options are available as a potential solution to this problem. One is to advice women not to become mothers, or if they do, to devote less time and energy to caring for their children. However this will have negative repercussions for those who need to be cared for, whether children, sick people or the elderly. A second solution is to reject the view that political participation is an important or necessary part of human flourishing, and allow that those who engage in caring activities can live good lives without having a say in how they are ruled. This has negative consequences for the carers who find themselves in a position, if not of direct oppression, of being dominated, and therefore susceptible of being oppressed. The solution I propose, inspired by the writings of Sophie de Grouchy, is that we look for a form of republicanism that regards caring activities as a form of political participation.